An internal audit at the Ministry of Education (MEP) reveals that both former Minister Leonardo Garnier and his vice minister, Silvia Viquez knew the computer program at the Finance Ministry would turn put salary checks less than was warranted but neglected to inform teachers and their administrators.

The report, revealed by the new Adminisration’s Minister of Education, Sonia Marta Mata, is specific and includes actual quotes from both officials. For example, one damning quote from Viquez on April 7 has her suggesting that it was not “necessary” to notify teachers of the program’s defects.

The computer glitch of the Integra2 software resulted in thousands of teachers not receiving their salaries and the cause of the month long strike by teachers.

When Viquez was asked by the national newspaper La Nacion about the quote, she shrugged it off as being taken “out of context.” Likely the revelations will not come as a surprise to the teacher’s unions who demonstrated no confidence in the Ministry under Garnier and Viquez.

Written by Harry Maynard, the audit report quotes Viquez as saying about the 7,433 personnel receiving incorrect salaries: “Yes, they’ll be paid less, but the functionaries don’t know this detail, so we can make the adjustments but don’t need to inform them and therefore we can avoid claims.”

Viquez accused the auditors of drawing hasty conclusions, taking only part of the records and quoting out of context. She said she did not like the way the quotes were taken and dismissed the document as a “study too rapid.” Garnier refused to comment, saying that he hadn’t read the audit report.

The conversion of the old Ministry of Education computer payment program into the new Finance Ministry’s Integra 2 ran into interfacing problems and, despite Viquez’s hope that educators wouldn’t notice, cause a three week strike for full payment of salaries.

But this was not all the problems that Maynard found. He charges that, in converting to the new program, “There was a lack of adequate training and no user manuals to consult when the (new) system first began to function.”

Ana Doris Gonzalez, chief of the teachers union ANDE and a bitter critic of the Ministry of Education under Garnier, said she hoped that those officials responsible for teacher mistreatment will be punished with sanctions.

Article by, reposted with permission

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